22Mar2012

BOOK REVIEW

Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems

 Tahir Yaqoob

One of the biggest questions people in this new millennium are still grasping at is did life develop elsewhere in the Universe as it did here, and what is the biochemical diversity or chemical makeup of that life? Are there Bio-markers out there yet to be found to answer that question in the affirmative?

A new branch of cosmology has emerged that tackles these big questions, exobiology. The new science has shown us other planets and other solar systems exist but the science is complex, much of it beyond the reach of the average science buff to comprehend fully. That is until now.

A new book by Tahir Yaqoob, titled appropriately ‘Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems’ has emerged to demystify the planet finding process and explain it all from our earliest bumbling steps to our present day level of knowledge. 

The thing that immediately grabbed my attention about this book was that it’s essentially a lay person’s guide to the Universe. Yes, that means you can read and understand every word without having to look up technical terms foreign to most people!

The author’s approach to each subject indicates a savvy for the teaching process. The material is well organized into sections and the book overall is not tedious on the eye, in fact at times I didn’t want to put it down. 

Artist's impression of the planet OGLE-2005-BL...

This artist's illustration shows an icy/rocky planet orbiting a dim star. Image via Wikipedia

Tahir takes the reader on a structured journey into the relatively new science of extrasolar research and introduces us to worlds unknown.  This book reviews the ‘state of the art’ technology astronomers have been using to find the hundreds of alien planets out there.

We get a real feel for what life might be like on these worlds by the many examples and analogies Tahir weaves into the text. Again, it’s all explained in language the non academic can understand without losing it’s scientific significance.

Most importantly, for the casual reader, the book is entertaining and I was never once left wanting to backtrack. Without compromising on detail, the author manages an engaging and often very amusing narrative. I like that!

This book is informative, up to date and very well written and represents excellent value for money. I highly recommend it to those interested in any aspect of life, and worlds, outside our solar system.

Reviewer: David Reneke 2012

 

 

 

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